On their sophomore record 'Girl', Girl Ray sound like a keyboard is flowing in their veins instead of blood. Dripping synth notes and belting electronic tones paint the album with a rainbow glitterball brush, and it’s a sound that works with the trio’s evolution perfectly.
When lead single ‘Show Me More’ was released at the end of July, the track was immediately infectious, an addictive slice of purebred pop. Inspired by Ariana Grande’s catapult into pop culture legend status, 'Girl' is the pop album we’ve been waiting for.
The album is boldly ambitious yet modest and humble. It’s immediately clear this is a record with an intense amount of thought injected into it; produced by Ash Workman (Christine and the Queens, Metronomy) and out on Moshi Moshi, this record is one to watch.
Third track ‘Just Down The Hall’ is looped around an almost housey beat, groove-heavy basslines and dancefloor-ready percussion - with the addition of an 130bpm bass beat, this track would be club ready. There’s something of Let’s Eat Grandma in the jittered keyboard chord structure of ‘Because’, and something of Marika Hackman in the honest lyricism and synth riffs.
‘Let It Go’ takes the album down a notch - it’s a time for reflection. With a gentle panpipe motif and dub-esque beats, it’s a track drawn with strokes of nature. There’s no time for rest, though, as we’re taken straight into the London rapper PSwuave featuring track; Poppy Hankin’s husky and gentle vocals are gloriously juxtaposed with PSwuave’s melodically insistent delivery. With a minimalist, Latin-inspired electronic production, ‘Takes Time’ is a sensational offering--a treat for the whole aural palate.
'Girl' feels like Girl Ray showing off their stunning ability to write catchy pop songs, but why shouldn’t they show it off? Every single song boasts a glittering chorus and light yet effective production; this is a record built on simple pop tracks that are a pleasure to dig deeper on. 'Girl' is the iceberg of 2019 pop albums; dip under the surface, and you’re awestruck by the depth of it.
It’s on track eight, ‘Keep It Tight’, where the best line of the album is dropped: “I’ve had a few boys, it’s true / he dipped me like a casual fondue”. It helps that the song itself is bloomin' good fun, too. The whole album is; there’s not a single disappointing track or lacklustre note. 'Girl' isn’t perfect, but it’s remarkably close to it.
Panpipes make a return on the tail-end of the album, as do dub-inspired beats and reflective lyricism. 'Girl’s final track, ‘Like The Stars’, is the only song on the album led by a guitar, and it’s a soft, nurturing guitar cut, with balmy ambience and a chilled atmosphere. The album folds itself gently into a close - there’s no bang here. But, with a record this catchy and inspired, does there need to be one?
Words: Erin Bashford
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